It’s a work and learn program. Here’s what we mean:
All Center students spend their mornings in a classroom teacher apprenticeship position - all four years. Students receive pay as well as college credit for this experience. That means they are part of the school environment as working, contributing staff members while they complete their college education. During the entire four years, each Center student is mentored by a retired master teacher who offers guidance and support for the classroom apprenticeship experience.
Afternoons are spent in academic classes at the Center. For those enrolled in the elementary education program, students major in a liberal arts degree with a concentration in English as a Second Language, which gives them a broad foundation for teaching and learning when working with a wide-variety of students. Classes in learning how to teach all subject areas to children are offered from the very start – not reserved until the junior and senior years as in most teacher prep programs. Students can bring what they learn in the teaching methods classes into their apprenticeship classrooms immediately – putting into practice what they learn and seeing for themselves what works.
For those choosing to major in special education, a similar liberal arts teacher apprenticeship program is provided along with courses in special education theory, practice and pedagogy to ensure teachers have the breadth of knowledge needed to be a special education teacher. Upon completion of the program, university students have the opportunity to become licensed as K-12 Special Educators with Generalist Endorsement. All Center students also take advantage of special seminars in educational technology, classroom management, tapping instructional resources found in the metropolitan area, along with a variety of helpful learning experiences. Special education graduates are eligible for the added K-6 Elementary Education endorsement, after taking and successfully passing an Elementary Content Exam. Additional course work may or may not be required.
For those who prefer to major in Early Childhood, an interdisciplinary liberal arts foundation and Professional Teacher Education Preparation (PTEP) are the requirements for this degree and students will be prepared to teach children from birth through age 8. Upon graduation, students are eligible to receive a teaching license which will permit them to direct an early childhood center, as well as teach in pre-K settings and/or grades K-3 in a public school. Early Childhood Education graduates are eligible for the added K-6 Elementary Education endorsement, after taking and successfully passing an Elementary Content Exam. Additional course work may or may not be required.
What will I study at the Center and how?
The four-year course of study includes a variety of subjects that contribute to a well-rounded college education and preparation for the most challenging of school classrooms. A unique feature of the Center is the scheduling of classes. Center students focus on one academic class at a time permitting them, for example, to complete course requirements for a math, English, history, etc. class in five weeks. This enables students to focus more clearly on the work at hand and come away from each classroom experience richer in what they have learned. Along the way they are involved in small, teacher training workshops periodically during the four years.